Monday, May 3, 2021

Is there a Conflict with Texas Representatives paying for Lobbyists to Kill Equal Parenting Bills?

The Texas Family Law Foundation spent 3/4 million dollars to pay lobbyists Steve and Amy Bresnen to kill Equal Parenting bills in the past 5 years. Is it a conflict of interest for a Representative to be on the JJFI committee that might kill an equal parenting bill, while at the same time paying dues that fund these lobbyists to kill equal parenting bills? 

Investigative Reporter Wayne Dolcefino has just released a video report about the Texas Family Law Foundation and the JJFI Committee. this video raises questions of if there is a conflict that is killing Parental Equality in Texas which is hurting kids and families.

See Video Report here: 

Rep. Ana-Marie Ramos and Rep. David Cook and Chairwoman Victoria Neave, please stand with the people of Texas and don't follow the misguided path of the for-profit lobbyists. Show you are not just a legislator in their pocket to kill and Equal Parenting bill that the people overwhelmingly want and that Kids need. Call for a vote on HB 803 and pass it out of committee so it can get a vote on the floor instead of just being killed in committee at the behest of the lobbyists over the desires of the people and 22 bi-partisan co-authors.  

These lobbyists brag about using their influence to delay these bills so they die, even though they would otherwise pass overwhelmingly on the floor, such as HB 803 Equal Parenting Bill. There is no question that the bills the TFLF support or oppose all come down to whether or not the bill will increase or decrease revenue for attorneys. They tried to use dirty tricks this session with a letter saying that equal parenting is only about dads who want to go against women, but these lobbyists were shut down swiftly by a counter letter showing that women are at the Capitol daily advocating for equal parenting because it helps moms too and most importantly it is best for kids and society. Emma Johnson with Moms for Shared Parenting even makes a compelling case that women will not get true equality and close the pay gap until courts have both parents chare in the duties of raising a child instead of just telling a women to stay home and raise the child after a divorce, even though the woman must also work too. The Bresnens knew of these women fighting for Equal Parenting this session, but chose to ignore and silence these women to promote their agenda.

Is it a conflict of interest for a Representative to be on the JJFI committee that might kill an equal parenting bill, while at the same time paying dues that fund these lobbyists to kill equal parenting bills? These lobbyists look out for the income of the attorneys they represent, that is the bottom line, they don't look out for families.

Rep Ana Ramos and Rep David Cook are new reps and they are family attorneys. The website lists them both as members of the TFLF. I fear they might have been fed the standard lies by these lobbyists because they sure did talk the points of the family law foundation lobbyists at the April 26 HB 803 Hearing. Points that have been disproven over and over again and points that go against the will of the majority of Texas who support and want equal parenting and parental equality. There are even 22 bipartisan co-authors of HB 803 and we can't even get a vote on this equal parenting bill? The TFLF are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of these freshmen reps who do not know the history of even last session's equal parenting bill that passed out of committee 7 to 1, and the TFLF arguments were soundly defeated by a woman, and mother, State Representative Gina Calanni.

For instance, Rep Cook used the old TFLF talking point and insisted that you can already get Equal Parenting in Courts, but this is something that has been thoroughly vetted and disproved even in last session's JJFI Committee. Rep. Gina Calanni did a fantastic job of getting the TFLF attorneys to admit it might cost 50k for a good attorney to go to court and try to get equal parenting or even just to get a judge to give expanded standard instead of the standard possession order. Rep. Calanni rightfully stated that the current system is not good for low-income people who cannot afford attorneys and not good for families. Why are we making good fit parents have to fight and bicker in have conflict over who gets more time with kids, instead of just having a starting point of equal parenting for parents who the court deems fit joint managing conservators? Rep. Cook also insisted on the TFLF idea that there already is near equal parenting time in the law, but that has been thoroughly disproven too. Rep. Calanni last session even blasted the TFLF attorneys for insisting there was already near equal time, but then the TFLF attorneys could not even come up with the numbers how much time one parent got over the other in the current system. Fortunately, Rep Calanni did the math and some years it is only 88 overnights in an entire year for one parent with their child with the every other weekend standard possession order where a child doesn't get to see one parent except one weekend every 2 weeks. That is not good for a child. Even worse for Rep Cook, he is opposing the Texas Republican Platform by standing in the way of Equal Parenting.

Rep. Ramos used the old TFLF talking point that it isn't good for kids to go back and forth, even though it has been thoroughly disproven over the years as well. EVERY study and expert over the past couple of decades has shown that equal parenting time is best for children in every measurable metric, regardless of having to go back and forth. This is because it is the separation from one parent that does the greatest harm to children and leads to drastically worse outcomes for children who do not have both parents in their lives equally. The separation from a parent hurts a child, not the going back and forth between 2 loving homes. In fact, with equal parenting schedules you can have even less going back and forth with week to week with one back and forth a week vs. the standard possession order which gives one parent 2 hours every Thursday which is a back and forth all in a one afternoon time span.

Rep Ramos and Rep Cook and Rep Neave, I believe you were elected with good intentions of doing right and representing your constituents and I believe you can rise above the conflict and do the right thing for the people. Don't believe the lies of the TFLF and don't follow the path of being another Rep that these lobbyists swayed to kill a bill that the people want and the kids need. The people are speaking out and they want equal parenting. Only the paid lobbyists or attorneys who profit from conflict are against it. It is profits vs the people. Please take a stand and show you don't just do what the Texas Family Law foundation lobbyists say to do. These lobbyists brag that they have swayed reps in the past to kill equal parenting bills. Please call for a vote on HB 803 and please vote for HB 803. That will show you are not a part of this group of lobbyist's profit agenda, and it will show you stand with the people of Texas and it will show you stand with minorities and low-income families and women and kids, all of whom will benefit from equal parenting, in addition to helping fathers get equal time with kids.


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